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Innovation

and the

Earned Brand

Disruptive innovation is here to stay. Building Earned Brands.
People all around the world love innovation, but they are scared about its pace.
They’re concerned not just about the security and privacy of their data, but
the overconsumption of product and environmental impact. We know that
unless marketers address these concerns – people will not buy your product or
service. Below are 8 actions a brand must do to earn the right to innovate.

Reassure,
don’t just
inspire
2 in 3 people say they want
brands to reassure them
before they buy.

Other people’s

experience is
my evidence

We’ve always known people turn to
friends and family for recommendations,
but now we know they rely on peers at the
moment of truth — 75% say they turn to
the peer voice for purchase.

Stop
shouting:
listen
& learn
People want to be heard:
6 in 10 are fed-up with being ordered to
upgrade, two thirds are mistrustful thanks
to enhanced images, and 60% don’t like
the ways brands listen.

Enable

the peer voice
Innovation concerns unite people
beyond their geography or age.
Their trust and reassurance can be
earned by enabling and encouraging
peer voices (64% and 67%).

Don’t just talk
about the product,

inform
Innovation progress excites, but
58% are worried about its impact
on the environment and about
overconsumption, 55%. They need
to know how their lives, and the
wider world could be improved
by innovation.

69% of people think the role of
innovation for brands in the future
is to constantly improve society and
63% think its role is to push our thinking.
Brands must deliver a bigger picture.

Make your mark

Be you,
have a character
1 in 3 people want to be inspired
by brands. But with an overwhelming
number of options and messages,
brands need to take on a distinct
and aspirational character.

50% of people feel the pressure to
be “always on” and some wonder if
innovation is turning us into robots.
Consumers have no problem with
innovation – 92% think it’s essential
for us today – however, it needs to be
unique and authentic. Brands need to
break the mould.

Innovation and
The Power of The
Earned Brand
Richard Edelman,
Global President & CEO, Edelman

The life of the consumer is transformed daily by a rush of
innovations. Want to change the temperature of your home
remotely; no problem, use Nest. Need a great dress for the
weekend party; easy, use Rent the Runway. Don’t want to
be hanging around; order a car from Uber. Maximize your
workouts and monitor sleep patterns; wear the Fitbit.
Have a brilliant entrepreneurial idea that needs funding;
apply to Kickstarter.
It is the entrepreneur’s moment. Consider Jeff Bezos of
Amazon, who said, “New inventions and things that consumers
like usually are good for society.” People love innovation and
what it can bring to their lives. They connect with innovation
in terms of the human spirit.
This should be a bonanza for marketing professionals, who are
charged with selling these innovations. Our business has a surfeit of new tools at our disposal, from personalized advertising
to targeted direct marketing and dynamic content creation.
And yet, we are in danger of losing our consumer. Here are a
few warning signs for the marketer from our research:
By a two to one margin, people feel that the pace of
change is too quick.
Two of three consumers believe that the motive for
innovation is greed and corporate profit.
Two of three are nervous about privacy; three of five
are anxious about security, the environment and
overconsumption; and half are concerned about having to
be on all of the time. 
Most worrying, 87% of consumers said that they will
stop buying innovative products and services unless
companies address their concerns.
We have to act on a simple truth: acceptance of innovation cannot be bought, it must be earned. As marketers we are failing.

We have forgotten that reassurance is required at a time of
rapid change. To achieve that “arms around” status, demands
a different playbook.
 
And this is it; this churn of innovation means more than ever
that my evidence is your experience. Said another way, it is the
experience that peers have with an innovative product
and their emotional shared reactions that are the necessary
evidence for purchase. 75% say they turn to peers to push them
toward or away from a purchase.
 
Instead of brands using the opportunities that social channels
provide to convey their messages, brand marketers must also
use the same social channels to enable peer-to-peer conversation to exploit the power of the peers and convert the purchase.
67% say they trust a brand more if they facilitate peer reviews.
And consumers take seriously the opportunity to connect with
brands via a “human face at the company,” in customer service
or via social channels.
 
Today’s inspiration comes from aspiration. 69% of people
believe that the role of innovation for brands should be to constantly improve society and 63% to push our thinking. People
around the world want to understand the purpose and mission
of the brand, how the new product will improve their friends’
lives. And when they are inspired about the mission, the
consumers become missionaries.
 
Disruptive innovation is a fact of the modern economy.
As marketers, we need to evolve our playbook if we want to
succeed. We have to address consumers’ fears before we have
the permission to sell. And we are most credibly represented
by those with personal experience of a brand, speaking openly
and spontaneously. Once the foundation of trust is established,
then marketing can play its role of inspiring purchase.
Brands must understand that there are four characteristics
that they need to earn the right to innovate. They must
inform transparently so that they can educate their audience
to enable them to make personal choices. They must operate
with purpose and show how they fit into the bigger picture
and are active participants in society. They must live with
character that is true to themselves and have a personality
that their audience can buy in to. And they must make their
mark by doing something unique or differentiating that is
worthy of attention. This is the new model of marketing in
action – brands must reassure before they inspire.

Three of five consumers told us that brands are not on the
right track when it comes to listening and communicating with
them. And by two to one, consumers said they want to
be reassured over being inspired.

THE
SIMPLE TRUTH

We have classified the 66% of conflicted consumers into potential
“swing tribes” with the following Innovation Typologies:
The Traditionalist
The Traditionalist fears losing the old ways of doing things, they
fear losing touch and are very concerned about having to be “always
on”. To engage with this group, brands need to deliver purpose and
show them how the brand is part of an authentic experience.

Michelle Hutton,
Global Practice Chair Consumer, Edelman

Why do people crave new innovation, even though new is
not always better and it often comes with a perceived risk?
What do brands need to do?
We wanted to learn more about disruptive innovators and what
marketers and communicators could learn from businesses and
brands that have reimagined categories, products and services.
Especially new disrupters like Uber, airbnb and other businesses
that have fundamentally changed the way we consume products
and services even beyond their own sectors. We wanted to discover
if there are lessons from some of the fastest-growing brands.
This is a unique study of its kind with consumers from across the
globe exploring their real feelings about innovation and new relationships with brands.
What we discovered is a simple truth. Successful brands that innovate well aren’t what they used to be, they create human relationships, they have many living qualities – they are the Earned Brands.
There will always be the lovers and the haters of change and innovation. But we now know that people believe in the promise of
innovation. We also found that it doesn’t matter about geography,
demographic or sector…two-thirds of consumers are conflicted,
undecided and need to be reassured before they will purchase.
People now ask their friends, use the Internet and their peer-topeer social networks to get reassurance. They want to talk to others
who’ve had the same experience, made the same mistakes, and
found the best answer. And these people tell the truth, not just
the latest brand story.

The Analyzer
The Analyzer loves innovation, but is concerned about a brand’s
motive, the impact of the innovation on the environment, and the
impact of overconsumption. To engage with this group, brands
need to inform and educate – they need to be given the facts so that
they can make up their minds.
The Rebel
The Rebel might like innovative brands, but they believe that
everything is becoming more average and that people are becoming
like robots just taking the innovation and upgrades as they come
without question. To engage these people, brands need to make
their mark and help theses consumers stand out from the crowd.
The Creator
The Creator wants innovative brands to encourage creativity and
make them look smarter. They love brands and creating content—but they are overwhelmed with options and concerned about
privacy issues. This group needs to be engaged by brands creating
a clear character and giving them a way to wear the brand as a
“badge”.
What we can all learn from disruptive innovators is a new model of
marketing in action. We have to inform, we need to take part of the
world we belong to, we need to have a character people can interact
with and brands need to make a mark.
These behaviours must work together as earned and paid needs to
work closer than ever before. It’s a true mix now, a patchwork, not
a set of matching luggage.

If it’s about people talking to people, what is the role for brands?
Our study found that peer conversations are critical and brands win
if they embrace and power the peer conversation. People across
the globe told us that they trust brands more if they find it easy to
review their products and services. And just as importantly, they
trust the brands that encourage people to review their products
and services.

That means it’s not just about the messaging, storytelling and
choosing the right channels. It’s about how your brand behaves
and earns the right to be considered, engaged and shared. It’s about
using the right communication approach…listening, shaping and
treating groups of people as communities, not just a marketplace.
Brands become Earned Brands by joining the peer-to-peer economy, learning how to fuel, not control, and shape the conversation.

When you group tribes of people together around their tolerance of
risk and their attitudes towards innovation, you start to get a clear
picture of what people want from innovative brands. This gives us
a key to the behaviours that will reassure these different peer tribes.

Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with
many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping
them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Edelman was
named one of Advertising Age’s “Agency to Watch” in 2014; one of Forbes’ “14 Most
Influential Agencies of 2014”; and The Holmes Report’s “2013 Global Agency of
the Year.” Edelman was awarded the Grand Prix Cannes Lion for PR in 2014 and
was among Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” for the third time in 2014. Edelman
owns specialty firms Edelman Berland (research) and United Entertainment Group
(entertainment, sports, experiential), a joint venture with United Talent Agency.
Visit www.edelman.com for more information.

Innovation
and the

Earned Brand